Valentine’s Day, a holiday traditionally dedicated to romantic love, has been celebrated for centuries. More recently, however, a spin-off of this tradition celebrating platonic love between female friends has gained popularity.
Galentine’s Day, which celebrates the beauty of female community and friendship, began as total fiction. The concept first appeared in a 2010 episode of “Parks and Recreation,” where Leslie Knope, the show’s main character, gathers her female friends and celebrates their relationships on Feb. 13. The idea has since become a wildly popular reality and is growing in participation each year. Now, women around the world gather on or around Valentine’s Day to commemorate their bond.
Ashley Justynski, a graduate assistant at the Texas A&M Women’s Resource Center, said Galentine’s Day has gone far beyond its sitcom beginnings because of the all-inclusive nature of the celebration centered around appreciating those who support you.
“Even people who don’t watch the show have started to celebrate it because it’s such a great holiday,” Justynski said. “To me, this day is all about celebrating my friends.”
Langley Pembleton, journalism sophomore, said evolving societal norms might be the catalyst behind this pseudo-holiday’s rapid growth and popularity.
“I think the idea of empowering women to love themselves and be confident without a relationship has a lot to do with it,” Pembleton said. “You don’t need a Valentine to have fun. You just need your fellow girls.”
Celebrating the love of friendship and the love of self rather than love from a romantic relationship is the basis of the holiday said Taylor Tyson, A&M’s Women’s Resource Center director.
“We’ve seen a shift in recent years to it being okay to be single, and to people not necessarily needing or wanting the love of a relationship,” Tyson said. “This day is about celebrating all of the different types of love and support that you have around you. It’s about showing appreciation.”
Galentine’s Day is not about rejecting romantic love or even about trying to change Valentine’s Day. Instead, it is about ensuring everyone in your life is appreciated and thanked for their love and support — even yourself.
“There’s more than one type of love,” Justynski said. “It’s not all about romantic love. There’s love between friends and self-love that is also very important.”